Monday, August 27, 2007

The Flawed ABCs of PEPFAR by Michael Stulman, Foreign Policy In Focus

World AIDS Day 2006 in Nairobi

The Flawed ABCs of PEPFAR
Michael Stulman August 21, 2007
Editor: John Feffer
Foreign Policy In Focus, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies
Several months ago, President George W. Bush called on Congress to reauthorize funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The request was to double current funding levels to $30 billion for five years. The money is slated for prevention, treatment, and care programs.

This announcement generated immediate applause from celebrities. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church and author of the mega-bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life declared, “Certainly one of the President's greatest legacies will be his insistence on putting compassion into action.” Irish rock star Bono wrote, “This is great news at a time when good news is hard to find. These AIDS drugs are a great advertisement for American leadership, innovation and the kind of John Wayne 'get it done' mentality that the greatest health crisis in 600 years demands.”

Although the president received accolades from all sides, his AIDS plan is still fraught with miscalculations and unwarranted assumptions. Its major blind spot has to do with youth. An estimated 9,000,000 youth around the world live with HIV/AIDS. This is equal to the entire population of Sweden, or just larger than the population of New Jersey. Over half of these people infected are women. Today, youth account for almost half of all new HIV infections. In addition to being underfunded and poorly targeted, PEPFAR fails to address this critical constituency. For rest of story see